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International Education: An overview Looking Throug the Number: A fad or a promising future AEC: Why it matters Building International Character: Learning stages Making a Choice: International Schools English Programme or Bilingual Schools 6 12 16 24 30 32 36 International Curriculums: 38 British System 39 American System 41 International Baccalaureate System 42 College: 46 Domestic International College Programmes 47 American College System 51 British College System 54 Standardised Tests: TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, GMAT, GRE 56

International educational
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International Education:

An overview
he world is getting smaller that adage has never been closer to the truth than what we are witnessing right before our eyes especially for Thailand and neighbouring Southeast Asian countries, where this notion is about to unfold its full effect when AEC takes effect in late 2015. The way of the old days when people could still achieve much of what they had set out to do in their individual endeavours with simple sets of tools, academically and socially, will inevitably become inadequate for any person to thrive in this changing world. The world today is all about globalisation and its drive for change is overwhelming. Every country whose economy depends heavily on global trade has adopted the nascent ideology of global community as the driving force behind their public policy. The world is not literally getting smaller but, in a figurative sense, it does become a whole lot easier to communicate across the globe. It has become, more or less, the norm to find transnational companies setting up businesses in countries other than their own to gain competitive edge over competitors, both for financial reasons and, of course, skilled workforce where available. What transpires after the fact that leading global conglomerates are crisscrossing the world, looking for accommodating places for new business opportunities and sustainable investments, is the need for a better-equipped, internationally oriented workforce. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the most obvious indicator to assess human resource development is education. Not for the sheer academic adequacy but how well the education system prepares the entering workforce and by how well it implies being internationally competitive. Education plays the most important role in preparing an individual for being a productive member of society, and language is one of the more prominent features education is assigned with. Humans learn their primary language through family and interactive parenting. Yet the actual linguistic competency can only be obtained through formal education channels. Being fluent in any language does require more than just good speaking and understanding: it requires the ability to linguistically contemplate such language with ease and to a certain level of complexity. Knowing that language is the crux of the whole idea of being adequately equipped in this changing world, the sooner a child is placed in accommodating surroundings the better chance he or she will develop a more internationally adjusted personality and thinking pattern. English is arguably the most important language if you wish to succeed in any business endeavour. That is quite a claim, especially when there has been a growing argument for learning Chinese in recent years due to the economic influence China has over the world.


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Lets look at the statistics, shall we? Respectively, there are 1.05 billion Chinese speakers with 873 million native speakers, 510 million English speakers with 340 million native speakers, 490 million Hindi speakers with 370 million native speakers, and 420 million Spanish speakers with 350 millions native speakers. According to these numbers, Chinese is the most widely spoken language with English a distant second. Be that as it may, English is the most published and adopted as formal language in the world. Understandably, English also has the greatest number of non-native speakers, 250 million to 350 million non-native speakers. Pragmatically, given the staggeringly higher number of native Chinese speakers, the prospect of being competitive with Chinese language does not look very promising. Evidently, when most parents make their decision which language should be the primary track for their child, English always pre-empts the decision-making process. Anyhow, it is undoubtedly also a good idea to help your child take up a second language like Chinese or Spanish if possible (and if your child is willing, of course), as shown in the aforementioned statistics. It bears repeating that the cost of getting a child into international school is significantly higher than placing a child in the traditional system. I am very much aware of the notion that you cannot put a price on education. Yes. But for that to be true, it would require all international curriculums to be inherently a better academic track by and in itself. Except in reality, like most of everything in life, there is no guarantee whether the international programme or institution that you choose to entrust your childs education with is definitely the better choice than placing your child in a traditional school. According to the survey, the average expenditure for placing a child in an international curriculum is 4-5 times higher than traditional Thai language programmes. When comparing average cost between three school groups (from elementary to high school), categorised by offered academic curriculums, currently available in Thailand, the numbers show that average costs for each group are: 50,000600,000 baht for Traditional Thai language school, 1.8-3.0 million baht for English language programme and 7-9 million baht for international school. With those exorbitantly high tuition fees that parents will have to bear, aside from wealthy parents whose financial wellbeing can comfortably cope with higher cost, it is not hard to imagine that most parents will have to resort to more than just the notion that you cannot put a price on education. Still, even putting a child through the best International school in the country does not guarantee your child a life of success and prosperity. There will always be other variables outside of education. The question most parents have in the back of their mind, even when they are not saying it, is Is this a worthy investment? It sounds somewhat out of place mixing investment with education. But when that much money is involved, it is inevitable. Given the cost of international education, this is not a decision to be taken lightly. We will be examining the process and variety of international education. How should one go about deciding what is best for their childs international education? Due to the varied global educational standards, each international education curriculum has its own merits and limitations. Educating yourself with a basic understanding of the system could prove to be critical when making the final decision. Do not invest your thoughts purely in the language proficiency aspect. Give equal consideration to the character building development of your child as well, as international education should also be about building mindset and vision.

According to the survey, the average expenditure for placing a child in an international curriculum is 4-5 times higher than traditional Thai language programmes.

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(Bilingual Thai-English) 6 (Whole Language)

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION 11 401 . 126 . 10310 : 0-2530-3030

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A fad or a promising future

oing back just 10 or 20 years ago, the thought of international education, or to be more precise, international schools, was almost exclusively limited to those within certain social circles with financial status to back it up. Most parents didnt give it serious consideration because of limited availability and information. Fast-forward to today and it is a whole different ballgame. International education has become the very first thought parents have in mind almost the very second their kids begin to read the alphabet. One question persists, though: is this just a fad that comes with the booming economy Thailand has been seeing for the last decade or is international education actually a better academic route in the global culture dominated world? As stated earlier, even though international education has become unprecedentedly more visible in Thailands education system, it still requires major financial commitment and it could potentially become parents nightmare if not planned elaborately. Many parents have second thoughts whether international education is for their child and is it worth the financial risk they are taking on. One could go on to explain how international education can be an optional necessity by listing all the pros and cons but, to be honest, it is still just abstract promising words and persuasion. To get down to what matters, what paints the image of how international education gives a leg up to those who have gone through it, we have to look at the statistics and numbers that illustrate the advantage international education can provide over the traditional system. First, lets say you want to send your kids to college abroad. We all know getting into college abroad means that your kids have to prove themselves more than native students. This is especially true for those students who study in their native language curriculum since all the academic credentials need to be re-evaluated and more standardised tests need to be taken. This is where international education provides easier stepping-stones for higher education abroad. According to a survey by The New York Times in 2012, of all the international applications submitted to 12 leading American colleges in 2012, 54% were admitted. Of the 54% international applications that were admitted, only 14.1% were applicants who graduated from local schools with a curriculum taught in the native language. That is where the difference starts taking shape. The statistics simply tell us that, on average, of all international applicants who are admitted into leading colleges in the United States, students who graduated from international curriculum schools

Looking Through the Numbers:


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2 Silom Road, #1801 Silom Center Tel: 02-632-8880

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At 54 per cent admission rate, just getting admitted is already hard enough for international students.

make up almost 86%. See the picture here? At 54% admission rate, just getting admitted is already hard enough for international students. But when you throw in the fact that only 14% of students graduated from local schools with native language curriculum make the cut, you have to feel the need for some advantage. And that is why international education is essentially the smoother academic pathway for students or parents who are looking for more opportunities, both academically and professionally, in the future. Now, what about the career aspect? How does international education play a role even after the schooling years have ended and students have to make it in the real world? A survey by The Human Capacity Building Institute (HCBI) and Sripatum University claims that the average first 10 years salary for an employee with a bachelor degree in private sector is 35,000 baht. Referring to the numbers in the overview section, this means that to recoup the money you spend on your kids education takes 1-2 years for Traditional Thai School, 5-10 years for English language programme and roughly 18-20 years for international school. This is without taking college education into account. Another interesting survey was conducted by the Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy, Thammasat University. The study collected data on employment of class of 2009 graduates. It finds that while graduate from Thai language programme schools have median starting salaries of 17,835.11 baht, graduate from English programme has the median starting salary of 22,012.07 baht. That roughly translates into a 20 percent difference. Also, the survey finds that 23.82% of graduates from traditional Thai language programme schools have trouble applying for a job because of a lack of English language skills. So a study from renowned domestic institution shows that there are differences between traditional and international curriculums. Still, some might make the case that this studys sampling is too homogeneous. The difference between the two programmes is marginal at best considering the tuition fee per semester (29,000 baht for Thai language programme and 149,000 baht for English programme.) And more importantly, with the difference that is somewhat not very significant and the much higher cost of international education, is it still a better academic path? Well, if we were strictly talking from financial point of view, I would say it is not the safest bet you could place for your child. However, jumping to that conclusion straight from comparing the numbers is a rather short-sighted approach.


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Lets have a look at another set of data. This comes from a survey on Thailand Market Salaries as of January 2013, conducted by Gemini Personnel, a Consultant firm based in Hong Kong. This survey shows the difference in salaries between each level of English Proficiency for each job category, and the difference is highly significant. I will pick just one job category for comparison. For example, for engineers, the starting salary without English proficiency is 22,500 baht while the starting salary for engineers with fluent English is 50,000 baht: the difference is more than 100%! Imagine how this difference will play out throughout the entire career for those with fluent English? Evidently, this argument relies heavily on the employment opportunities after the academic years, and it takes quite a long journey for international education to actually pay off, but, at the very least, the numbers to support parents decisions to go for it are there. And when you have the number to fall on, claiming international education is just a parenting fad is a blind assumption at best. International education could be your kids key to future success in life, both academically and professionally.



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Why it matters


e mentioned in the preceding section the importance of the upcoming AEC, or ASEAN Economic Community, which will take effect in late 2015. AEC is a proposed free trade economic zone comprising of the following 10 ASEAN countries: Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines and Indonesia. Similar to the EU, or European Union, what will happen once the AEC takes effect is that it will turn these 10 ASEAN countries into a free trade zone where trades between these member countries are conducted without the red tape of the usual government tax policy and regulations such as import tariffs and immigration controls. The AEC agreement is supposed to create more weight for ASEAN countries to negotiate in global trade since the total GDP of AEC members even outweighs the EU. Coupled with the fact that AEC member countries, all together, will represent the third largest population in the world, this makes AEC an even better economic boost for the region.


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Why should Thailands becoming an AEC member concern parents considering international education? Well, to put things into perspective, when we talk about free trade zones, just like the EU, it is not just about trade in goods that will enjoy free movement within the free trade zone. This free trade zone will also create free movement of the labour force. This means that the working population will no longer be stagnant: it will become more mobile since new human resources can be more easily sourced within the region. There will be less unfavourable regulations concerning cross-national labour issues between AEC members. The labour market should therefore become more eclectic and considerably more competitive, since the talent pool will significantly expand. Employers can choose to hire from other member countries if they deem that the local labour market cannot fully drive their business growth. Likewise, local labour markets need to be on their toes and keep adapting to the needs of businesses, in order to be competitive with other AEC countries market. Its all related. Now think about how the influx of new labour moving to work between these member countries markets and the new business opportunities that will arise once the AEC becomes the norm. There will be huge changes in the business environment and, of course, human resources. This is where international education comes in as a preparation for this close-to-home changing world. When people from many nations come to work together, as they will with the AEC, the very first issue that needs to be addressed is language. And what language would be most widely used? Definitely English. It is expected that English proficiency will become more of a necessity than a qualification in the future AEC labour market and everyone who keeps their eyes peeled should see why. Why does it matter to prepare for AEC? Shouldnt this be adequately addressed by the government sector alone? Well, lets see how well prepared Thailand is for becoming an AEC member, and one of its leading nations, in terms of English proficiency.

When people from many nations come to work together, as they will with the AEC, the very first issue that needs to be addressed is language. And what language would be most widely used? Definitely English.



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Thailand is rated as having a very low proficiency when it comes to conducting business in English.

English Proficiency Index (EPI): Not a very promising picture

Education First (EF), a British company specialised in language training, has been conducting an annual survey regarding English Proficiency of NonEnglish speaking countries and the results of its 2012 survey are not very encouraging for Thailand, to say the least. The survey is on a voluntary basis, so not every country opts to be included in it. Of the total 54 countries included in the survey, five are from the proposed AEC members, and they all are leading member nations, including Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia. Those countries that opt out are Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Myanmar and Philippines.

Lets have a look at the result

Of all AEC member countries that participate in the survey, Singapore ranked the highest at 12th, follow closely by Malaysia at 13th. Both are in the High Proficiency group. Indonesia and Vietnam ranked in the same Low Proficiency tier at 27th and 31st respectively. And Thailand? Well, its 53rd. Yes, Thailand ranks almost dead last at 53rd. This does not even include the Philippines which traditionally is known to have a relatively strong English


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proficiency among ASEAN countries. By being ranked at 53rd, Thailand is rated as having a very low proficiency when it comes to conducting business in English. A very low proficiency. Let that sink in for a minute. Even China, a country that spent half a century defying all Westernisation, ranks higher than Thailand, at 36th. This survey shows that despite the clamour and facade of being a modernized country, when it comes to things that count for being internationally savvy like English, Thailand is greatly lacking. To add insult to injury, in 2011, the Thai government made a decision NOT to develop English as an official second language programme in the government-run school system. The Ministry of Education said that Thailand has never been subjected to other nations hegemony and to develop an English language programme would suggest otherwise. Well, that pretty much explains why Thailand is 53rd in the rankings. There is a reason why so many international corporations have their Asian base set up in Singapore: Singapore ranked the highest on the EF EPI at 12th. Now think about what could become the norm once AEC takes effect. What if international companies come to Thailand to enjoy our cheap labour, but instead of filling their administrative and executive jobs by hiring locally, they opt to hire from other AEC nations with better English proficiency. That would be an opportunity lost, no question. Any third world country can provide cheap labour but no country can economically and socially progress by being the cheap hire alone. We need well-educated, internationally adept personnel to compete in a changing global economy. Logically, international education is the most direct answer to that challenge. Also, according to the AEC agreement, once in effect, education, especially international education, will potentially be facing a new test. Since the Thai government refused to develop its own English language programme, and the availability of international schools in Thailand is still playing catch up, there is a good chance that schools from other member countries with better English proficiency such as Singapore and Malaysia will be coming to Thailand. This could open up more opportunity and afford greater numbers of parents an admission into the international education system. On the other hand, more students from other AEC member countries could come to Thailand for their international education, this can result in strengthening the international education system in Thailand or making international school availability even more scarce. To keep up with this potential influx of new group of students, international schools in Thailand need to adapt their curricula to be even more internationally oriented in order to compete with international schools from within AEC. But since the Ministry of Education still enforces the regulations on Thai study, for any international school to develop their curricula to attract more students from other AEC countries is somewhat uncertain. Moreover, teaching personnel issues also need to be addressed. Currently, foreigners who apply for teaching positions in international schools need to go through Thai language and culture training in order to get their teaching license; which is a major obstacle for recruiting new, qualified teaching personnel in response to the expected increased demand for international education after AEC takes effect. This needs to be looked over by Thai Governments education agencies to see if any adjustment could be made to accommodate qualified foreigners who want to teach in Thailand.

Singapore ranked the highest on the EF EPI at 12th.



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Learning stages

Building International Character:

hen it comes to international education, there is no rule of thumb that will guarantee success for your kids future. For a start, you need to look back at how the whole international education system got off the ground. It is generally known that international education got off the ground because of expatriates who needed to raise their children in the surroundings of their native traditional traits and values. What does this historical fact have to do with anything? Basically, to understand the international school environment in its entirety, you have to accept the fact that not every international school was created the same. A couple of decades ago, there were only a few established international schools operating in Bangkok, let alone the whole country. International Schools back in those days were functioning purely on the fact that most, if not all, students attending would end up back in their home country eventually. Simply put, they had no obligation to instil local culture and values into their adopted curriculums. With this set of facts in mind, there are strong vestigial elements from that past present in most reputable international schools in Thailand.


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The difference, however, is now that international education has gained its fair share of popularity in mainstream education. You now have international schools popping up all over Bangkok and many well-known provincial expatriate communities like Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai. The fact of the matter is that each international school has its own way of operation, and selecting an international school for your child should be more than just about how strong the English courses are. The pickings are certainly not slim and choices vary both financially and academically. Say that after much deliberation you come to the conclusion that international education is the right choice for your kids future. Now comes the very first decision that most parents have an incredibly difficult time making: when is the right time to put their kid in the international education system? This may come off as easy as deciding what age your kid should start school but it could be trickier than you might think. First off, there is the issue of early childhood to think about. Some parents have a very tough time dealing with their kids being in international school while keeping them attached to Thai culture. The trick is to strike the perfect balance between international surroundings at school and Thai values at home. This is not as cut and dried as it sounds There are things to consider. For this reason, we have to go over some of the basics of early childhood development during formative years. So, as parents, you will know when or how you could help your kid develop a balanced international character while absorbing Thai culture.

Say that after much deliberation you come to the conclusion that international education is the right choice for your kids future.



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There is not much academically parents can do at this level since the concentration on a childs development is not on education but rather on physical and emotional development. Still, parents can always provide developmental aids and support for the child to create a better-fitting environment that will provide linear, undisrupted development. The international education system for this stage varies according to each system. The British system calls this Early Years or Key stage 0 at the age of 3-5. The American system uses the title Pre School or Kindergarten at the age of 4-6. The International Baccalaureate system labels it Primary Year Programme (PYP) at ages ranging from 3-12 years old. In the early childhood stage, basic development (physical/social/ emotional/intellectual/language) is of the most importance and requires the undivided attention of parents. Observing your childs behavioural development closely would help guide you on how to interact with your child and what your childs natural interest tendencies seem like. Theoretically, a childs development can be systematically represented and observed according to age period. Nevertheless, it is also imperative to note that all the suggested activities and resulting achievements, which are grouped by time specific periods, presented here, represent average children from observed data. Not all children have to strictly follow the same development pattern.

It has been academically proven that elementary years are the most important period in shaping your childs characteristic traits and thought processes. Thus, having your child placed in international education surroundings should help develop behavioural traits and values. These schools maintain their curricular following the international systems accepted worldwide; British System, American System or International Baccalaureate. In the British system, levels start at the Primary or Key Stage 1 and 2. The prior one falls into Year 1-2 at the age of 5-7 years old. The latter one falls into Year 3-6 from the age of 7-11 years old. The American system is equivalent to Elementary school or Grade 1-5, at age 6-11 years old. For the IB system, the course starts from Kindergarten under the Primary Year Programme (PYP) at the age of 3-12 Years. The PYP focuses on the development of the whole child in the classroom but also in the world outside through other environments where children learn. It offers a framework that meets childrens several needs: academic/social/physical/emotional and cultural. The good news is that, at this stage there is little difference between each international curriculum. Therefore, no matter which curriculum your school adopts, it is unlikely to cause any disruption in your kids academic development down the line.


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High School
At this stage, it is crucial to make your decision on which academic track you deem most appropriate to the students academic contingency. After all, these are the formative years of building academic stepping stones towards international education for your child in the truest sense. How well the student will do in their college education depends heavily on these high school years. Whether the student is choosing the right international education curriculum will have an enormous effect on their college application. Thus, parents involvement is encouraged but should never be the decisive factor. Most students in international school continue their college education abroad, so choosing the right international high-school curriculum that benefits the planned college system takes the highest priority. Comparatively, international high school programme is equivalent to Matthayom 4-6 in the Thai education system, Key Stage 4-5 (Year 1013) in the British system and High School (Grade 9-12) in the American system. The appropriate age for this stage falls between 14-18 years old.

These international schools have been continuously adjusting and developing their curriculums to be accepted both internationally and domestically and they are accredited by Thailands Ministry of Education.

Understanding the basics of how the international education system works would be resourceful in making the choice of international school and the fitting curriculums that match the educational path for your child. These international schools have been continuously adjusting and developing their curriculums to be accepted both internationally and domestically and they are accredited by Thailands Ministry of Education. These international programmes are aiming at giving students the opportunity to earn their high school diploma in an international environment that will also afford students academic credentials for university admission abroad. It is an attempt to standardise the process of continuing study for both international and local institutions in our rapidly changing world.



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Making a Choice

Which school is the right one for you, as parents, and your kid, for their academic success?

o you have made the decision that international education is the best academic path for your kids future. Now comes the step where you have to make another crucial decision: which school is the right one for you, as parents, and your kid, for their academic success? Given the growing availability of international programmes being offered from both international schools and Thai Schools with English language programmes, there will certainly be a long check list to go through. Before we go on to making the decision on what type of school you should place your kid in, lets have a rundown of this simple checklist first. 1. Your kids age. How old are they? Because sometimes, like stated in the previous section, a student too young could be confused when placed too early in a multiple-language environment. At the early age of 1-4 years old, a child is still developing their own identity and it could potentially cause a disruption in the childs development if they are to be confused by the different languages spoken at school and home. Thus, if you would like to place your kid in international surroundings early, a more fitting option would be programs that offer a smoother transition where English is used primarily in the learning process with Thai as a secondary common usage. 2. Your financial ability. How much do expect to spend on your kids tuition and fees? International education whether English programmes or international schools is significantly more expensive than traditional Thai schools. The cost of these programmes should be proportionate to your family income, so that it will not incur too much burden on you as a parent. The good news is that there are plenty more options for international programmes finance wise now than before. Dont give up your hope if the first school you find is financially unviable. Keep looking. However, this cannot be stressed enough: dont put too much financial strain on your income. Your kids education is a long running process; you can always opt for the more expensive choice when you are ready.


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3. Gathering information, here is where most parents make the veritable mistake: they dont do it. You would be surprised how many parents choosing their kids school just by taking words out of their friends mouths or their friends suggestions. It seems good enough since many parents claim this school or that school is best, so it should be good enough for your kid, right? Wrong. The bottom-line is that the school that is right for other peoples kid isnt necessarily perfect for your kid too. If your kid has to get up at 4 in the morning and be on the road for 2 hours for school everyday, I dont care how people say that schools international programmes can turn an ordinary kid into a genius, it is not right for my kid. What if your wanting your kid to be able to stay in close contact with their Thai roots is as important as developing their English? What if you want your kid to grow up and learn in natural surroundings? What if you want your kid to study in the most technologically advanced school possible? What is the percentage of Thai students to international students ratio? What does the school serve for lunch most frequently? Does the school offer summer programs. If it does, is it domestic or abroad? Most importantly, which international curriculum does the school adopt? Yes, every aspect of the school should be considered. Never take anything for granted or because people claim the school is good enough. 4. We mentioned this one in passing on the first checklist: do you want your kid to keep their Thai identity? This last checklist is the most important to the majority of Thai parents. While they want their kid to have the best international education they can afford, most parents hate seeing their kid abandon their Thai identity. This is a tough nut to crack as parents. This is why we have the third checklist: because not every parent wants their Thai kid to grow up to be a foreigner in their homeland, do they? While some of the most prestigious international schools, whose programmes are deemed the best in the region, are offering the best academic opportunity for your kids, how might their academic philosophy and culture cause your kid to lose their Thai identity? Does it come with the territory? Thus, as parents, these seemingly best international schools may not be the best for you if your priority is to keep your kid grounded in Thai culture and values.

Assuming you have gone over the checklist and you are set to make the final call of school choice, now we are going to look at the type of schools that offer international education and what are the differences between them. Generally speaking, schools that offer international curricula can be cast into two categories: international schools and English programme offering schools. What differentiates these two main providers of international education are mainly how they operate and their academic philosophy.



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International Schools
According to International Schools Association of Thailand (ISAT), there are currently 133 international schools in Thailand. The number has grown from about 40 in 1992. Approximately, 40,000-50,000 students are studying in the international school system at the moment. Also, the latest figures from the Office of Private Education Commission show that the number of private schools with English Programme (EP) increased from 144 in 2008 to 162 in 2012, while the number of EP students rose from 35,800 in 2008 to 54,800 in 2012. Altogether, 400 state and private run schools across the country are offering EP and Mini-EP to hundreds of thousands of students. Ten percent of those students are foreigners. Also, according to research done by the International School Consultancy, global international education has increased dramatically and will keep growing. The total number of Englishmedium international schools in the world is more than 6,400 with more than 3.2 million students. By 2022, it is expected that there will be 11,300 international schools and 6.2 million students. Generally, international schools in Thailand can be categorized into two different subcategories as follows:

Non-Profit Board Governed International Schools

These schools represent the image of international school from the early days. Some of the schools in this faction have been operating in Thailand continuously for longer than 50 years. That is an achievement in itself by any standard. Schools in this subcategory were developed in response to the demand of high standard education for English speaking students whose parents were those of government employees from overseas and business expatriates during the halcyon days of globalisation. Some were even founded with partial funding from foreign governments or organisations. Therefore, these schools operation has not been about making profit from the beginning. These schools operate under school board of trustees which typically consisted of elected parents and representatives from funding governments or related organisations.


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Business Owned For-Profit International Schools

If Board Governed Non-Profit International Schools represent globalisation in its halcyon days, these for-profit schools represent globalisation at its veritable apex. The waves of these international schools flowing into Thailands education system at the moment are unprecedented. Only during these past two decades have international schools of this pedigree made their presence felt. The significant characteristic for these for-profit schools is obvious: they operate as business organisations. Some of these schools are branches of reputed institutions overseas, some are of the most prestigious ones from Europe, and some are locally run as family businesses. The cost of getting your kid into these schools is also in the highest bracket but that comes with the territory. It is worth noting that, recently there are more British affiliate international schools opening up in Thailand than any other affiliations.



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International schools in both categories offer international academic curricula allied to their country of affiliation i.e. Advance Placement for the American system, A Level for the British system and International Baccalaureate (IB) for the international educational system. Which curriculum is offered at school could be a factor in your kids college education. Parents should take time to consider the advantages of each curriculum. If you are expecting the most authentic sense of international education, this is probably as close as it can get. Since the schools operate on the basis that it does not necessarily need to integrate local culture into their curriculum. The schools that can just get by include Thai Study Courses as mandated by the Ministry of Education. Also, at least half of school board members must be Thai nationals, due to the regulations pertaining to foreign investment in education. English is, of course, the primary language used both in academic settings and social surroundings. Some schools may have introduced a third language, like Chinese, into their curricula due to growing popularity. These schools generally are the most costly of all international education alternatives. Academic settings in these schools are closer to international standard, whether evaluation, class setting, teaching method or extra curricula activities. For example, unlike traditional Thai schools where students are given fixed course schedules and elective programmes, these international schools let students choose their own academic courses using a credit system. This helps when students go onto college level since it better prepares them to be more responsible for their academic decisions.


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Also, in order for these international schools to maintain their international school status, they have to maintain the international-to-local-students ratio at a certain number, according to a predetermined admissions policy. As you might expect, this admissions policy caters more to international students. Hence, getting your kid into these schools could take more than just adequate finance and good planning. Lastly, there are internationally accepted accreditations for international schools you should get familiar with. Here are some of the more widely known: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), AdvancED for American organisations. The Council of International Schools (CIS): The European Council of International Schools (ECIS), The International School Award (ISA) for European and British organisations: The International Schools Association of Thailand (ISAT) domestically accreditation: And, International Baccalaureate World School (IB World) operated in tandem with International Baccalaureate Program. These accreditations should provide the baseline for making your decision.

Some schools may have introduced a third language, like Chinese, into their curricula due to growing popularity.



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English Programme (EP) or Bilingual Schools

Due to the increasing demand for English teaching schools while the supply for international schools is still catching up rather slowly, these English programme schools serve exactly those spilled over demands. As we discussed in the last section, international schools need to maintain their local-to-international-student ratio, thus, as fast as the growth of international schools in Thailand seems, it is still far outmatched by demands. English Programme School or Bilingual School means a Thai school run and operated by a local owner or, in some cases, the state, that offers optional English language programme as an academic alternative for students whose parents are willing to carry additional cost. The curriculum in these school is an MOE approved Thai curriculum which in some cases may have been slightly adjusted but is still within the allowed context. Courses are taught in English only for certain subjects and the rest are in Thai. All the extra curricula activities are in accordance with the Thai curriculum without any adjustment. Some schools may even offer programmes that are designed in cooperation with reputable schools from abroad in order to obtain some form of international credential. For example, some schools offer tailored programmes or joint programmes with internationally known schools from English speaking countries like Canada or Australia. This seems to be the trend for English programme schools at the moment.

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Mostly Thai teachers make up the teaching faculty with adequate numbers of English speaking teaching staff in charge of courses that are taught in English. The strength of English programme schools is the variety. You dont need to limit your choice to a few international schools that fit your criteria. Think how many Thai schools are highly competitive academically? The good news is that today most of those schools offer English language programmes. Language aspect of the programme may not be as intense as those offered in international schools but when it comes to academic excellence, you will have far more choices and maybe even higher quality. In sciences and mathematics, Thai schools are doing a fine job producing high quality graduates in terms of academic proficiency. Also, it goes without saying that the cost of these schools is significantly lower than full-fledge international schools. English programmes in Thai schools may not sound like the most ideal international environment but for academic excellence, they are as good as any international school in the country.

Thai schools are doing a fine job producing high quality graduates in terms of academic proficiency.



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Programmes offered in international schools are set up to afford students credentials for college application abroad.

nderstanding the difference between international curriculums would be the first step in the right direction in choosing the right school and likely will benefit your kids college education in the future. Respectively, international education programmes are equivalent to Matthayom 4-6 in the Thai education system, Key Stage 4-5 (Year 1013) in the British system and High School (Grade 9-12) in the American system. The appropriate ages fall between 14-18 years old. Each international curriculum is designed in regard to its affiliated education system, i.e. British System, American System and International Baccalaureate System. It is strongly advised that students and parents should plan their course of study in advance before picking one curriculum over another. Because choosing the right curriculum for the prospective higher education system can provide a student with a better chance with their college application and a smoother transition if the student continues their college abroad. Presently, most international schools continually adjust and develop their curriculums, to varying degrees, to be accepted both internationally and domestically. All international schools in Thailand, in order to obtain their license, have to be officially accredited by Thailands Ministry of Education. Programmes offered in international schools are set up to afford students credentials for college application abroad, depending on the schools adopted curriculum. This is an attempt to expedite the students continuing onto college education, for both international and domestic institutions. Therefore, parents can make their decision, on which curriculum is suitable for their kids college plan, based on which curriculum is accredited by colleges in the country. At present, there are three international education systems adopted by international schools worldwide i.e. the British System (IGCSE and A level), American System (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB.)


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British System
British System is separated into 2 levels of academic evaluations for different educational purposes IGCSE/GCSE/GCE O Level and A Level. IGCSE/GCSE/GCE O Level: These are standardised courses for students in their Key Stage 4, or Year 10-11, under the age of 14-16 years old. IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Educational) curriculum is an international programme designed to develop and prepare students for higher education through different areas of academic interest. Student can choose between the core courses reflecting the students academic interests. By focusing on the overall knowledge of the subjects, students would be graded from C to G. Moreover, students will have to take the extended examination, which includes core courses with additional content. Students will be graded from A to C. Courses are divided into five groups: Language, Humanities and Social Science, Science, Mathematics and Creative, Technical and Vocational. Students can choose their own courses of study that fit their academic interest and capability. The following are samples of the courses offered: Accounting, Art and Design, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Religious Studies, Sociology, Travel and Tourism, Geography, Literature, First Language from Chinese/ French/German/Japanese etc. GCE (General Certificate of Education) and GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Educational) are the same academic evaluation. The only difference is the location of the courses being offered. GCSE or British GCSE is for students studying in the UK, while GCE is for overseas students taking courses under the British curriculum. GCE is recognised as a British qualification examination. The programme is separated into two levels: GCE O Level is to be taken in the upper secondary level or at the age of 16. GCE A Level is to be taken in the key stage 5 or at the age of 18. Subjects are also placed into 5 groups, namely Language, Humanities and Social Science, Science, Mathematics and Creative, Technical and Vocational albeit to a significantly lesser course variety than those offered in IGCSE. Students who take IGCSE and GCE O level will be equivalently recognised as British GCSE, and will be accepted in most British vocational schools. However, admission to British universities/colleges requires three additional GCE A Level subjects, in addition to five IGCSE passes. These requirements vary in each university/college, so it is a MUST to check the admission requirements of the prospective university/college in advance for subject selection pertaining to college admission.



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In Thailand, IGCSE and GCE O Level certifications are accredited by The Ministry of Education as High School equivalency (Matthayom 6) and students will be accepted by most Thai Universities, under the following conditions: IGCSE, student have to achieve grade C or better, in total five IGCSE subjects GCE O Level students have to achieve grade C or better in total five subjects, or a combination of both IGCSE and GCE O Level with grade C or better in total five subjects A-Level: A-Level (Advanced Level General Certificate of Secondary Educational) curriculum is developed for students who are specifically looking to continue their education in college or university in the British System. This programme offers a variety of subjects for students to build the course combination that respond to their academic interests. Students usually enter the programme at Key Stage 5, known as Year 12-13 under the age of 16-18 years old. The course is set up in two academic years; the first year in grade 12, known as AS level and the second year in grade 13, known as A2 level. Whilst each year covers approximately the same amount of materials, the conceptually more difficult courses will almost always present in the second A2 year. A student on this two-year course should choose up to four AS courses in the first year and then convert three of them into A2 examinations the following year. Courses are divided into five groups of Language, Humanities and Social Science, Science, Mathematics and Creative, Technical and Vocational. The curriculum comprises up to 50 varieties of courses but often selects 2-3 relevant courses from each group for the examination. Student would achieve level 5 grading from A-E and all grades are accepted as pass. As mentioned earlier, any grade range from A-E is accepted as a pass for graduation requirements. Nevertheless, some British universities have their own distinct requirement for admission. Some might accept just C grading for admission but some might only accept higher grades. Therefore, it is highly recommended to check those requirements early on in planning for college education. Incidentally, Thai universities normally require a minimum of three A-Level subjects at pass grades to be successfully accepted.


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American System
Due to the size of the country and its multi-level, state and federal government, the United States has a rather flexible academic curriculum. Each of 50 states has its own education board that oversees its education system. Therefore, there is no national curriculum, only the required core subjects that are roughly outlined by federal mandates, mainly foundation courses that are taught in schools throughout the country, e.g. mathematics, science, language (reading, grammar, writing), social studies (including history, geography, economics) and information technology etc. In addition to required core courses, schools are offering elective courses that students can individually pick to meet their own interests and expertise, such as performing arts, advanced math, science or technology and foreign languages. Other than the highly customisable course content, in the matter of critical thinking, the American system, arguably, is better than other curriculum in encouraging critical thinking in students. High school years in the American system start from Grade 9-12, at age 14-18 years old. The American system does not require any specific course of study to achieve an academic credential. It offers a standardised version of its own federal government sanctioned curriculum as a designated academic model called AP, or Advance Placement. This programme is widely known as American Curriculum. Albeit not being a requirement to complete a high school diploma, it can prove to be useful in college education: Especially to those who prefer to pursue undergraduate studies in the United States. AP, or Advanced Placement, is an academic programme administered by The College Board of New York. It has gained popularity among international schools all over the world. This programme enables students to take the advanced courses that are transferable for college credits or placement while still in high school. Since these advance courses are generally more challenging and stimulating academically, compared to typical high school courses, it does require the students commitment, motivation, involvement and hard work to complete the coursework. AP exams take place annually in May under the College Boards supervision. Students who do not take AP courses in their high school still have the chance to take the examination and gain credits towards the AP credential. There are more than 30 AP subjects available for students to choose from, including: Art History, Studio Art, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics (Microeconomics, Macroeconomics), English (Language and Composition, Literature and Composition), Environmental Science, French (Language, Literature), German (Language), Government and Politics (Comparative, U.S.), History, Latin (Virgil, Literature), Mathematics (Calculus AB, Calculus BC), Statistics, Music Theory, Physics (B, C: Mechanics, C: Electricity & Magnetism), Psychology, and Spanish (Language, Literature) etc. Evaluation scores range from 1 (no recommendation) to 5 (extremely qualified). Individual college determines the scores to be accepted for credit towards bachelor degree completion, but most consider a minimum score of three to be eligible for transferable credit. Some colleges may award three, and sometimes six, hours of credit per test. Students should contact the prospective colleges to find out about the policy regarding this. The obvious advantage for students taking the AP programme is the preparation process one must take on prior to college. Most American colleges take a more favourable view of students who have passed AP courses. However, American colleges/universities require other standardised tests, like SAT or ACT, to be submitted as a requirement for admission as well. In Thailand, the AP programme is still building its popularity, but some universities are offering degree programmes that accept applicants with AP scores, together with other standardised tests, as an admission requirement.

The American system does not require any specific course of study to achieve an academic credential.



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International Baccalaureate System (IB)

The International Baccalaureate is undeniably the leader in the field of international education. It is a non-profit foundation that offers three coordinated and challenging programmes for students from 3-19 years of age. This system has been most adopted and accredited in over 120 countries around the world. The Primary Years Program (PYP) is designed for students from the age of 3-12 years old, focusing mainly on childrens overall development. The Middle Years Program (MYP) is for students with age ranging from 11-16 years old, focusing on academic and social skills integration. Lastly, the IB Diploma Program is for students from age 16-19 years. It is a two-year curriculum, and probably the most comprehensive programme available, regarding preparation for college education. The curriculum is also the most recognised by leading universities around the world. The curriculum uniquely provides balanced academic preparation and global perspective. There are six groups of subjects that students have to take at higher level (courses representing 240 teaching hours) or standard level (courses representing 150 teaching hours): 1. Language A 2. Language B 3. Individuals and Societies (Philosophy, Economics, Business and Management) 4. Experimental Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) 5. Mathematics 6. Arts and Electives (Visual Arts, Film, Music, Dance and Theatre Arts) There are three further elements providing additional academic specialisation, as well as interests outside the classroom. These elements are: Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a course designed to encourage each student to reflect on the nature of knowledge by critically examining different ways of knowing (perception, emotion, language and reason) and different kinds of knowledge (scientific, artistic, mathematical and historical). This should be taken not less than 100 hours and written essay not less than 1,200 1,600 words. The Extended Essay (EE) is a requirement for students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the subjects they are studying. Required written essay not less than 4,000 words. Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) requires that students actively learn from the experience of doing real tasks beyond the classroom. Students can combine all three components or do activities related to each one of them separately.


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To obtain an IB diploma, students must choose one subject each from groups 1 to 5. Thus, ensuring equal academic ability in languages, social studies, the experimental sciences and mathematics. The sixth subject may be arts, chosen from group 6, or the student may opt for another subject from groups 1 to 5. At least three subjects have to be taken at the high level examination, with the rest can be taken at the standard level. Grading ranges from 1 to 7. Maximum combined score from six subjects will be 42 points. The additional three courses (TOK/EE/CAS) reward another three points. The highest score being awarded is 45 points, and the minimum requirement to pass is 24 points. International schools that teach this curriculum hold IB Examination twice yearly, and they administer the examination for their students independently. The IB diploma is, figuratively-speaking, a universal passport to international higher education. Universities around the world welcome the unique characteristics of IB graduates. IB students routinely gain admission to some of the world-renowned universities. Most leading universities have established strong recognition for IB diploma, and those, expectedly, include leading universities in Thailand.

Welcome to Southland Boys High School and Southland Girls High School
Established in 1870s, Southland Girls and Southland Boys are the oldest schools in the Southland province. Our learning environments provide a warm, friendly, caring community for students aged 10 to 18 years, where a high standard of academic excellence and personal conduct by all students is expected. Both schools have proud academic records. Our NCEA exam results are consistently well above the national average. Our schools offer a choice of accommodation; a well supervised boarding house, or carefully selected homestay. Your childs learning is regularly monitored by qualified teachers. Each school has an International Director who is responsible for the students day-to-day care. There are many opportunities for students to pursue their sporting, musical and artistic talents. SGHS and SBHS are schools that focus on excellence for all.
Contact Ian Baldwin Rector Contact Yvonne Browning Principal


One of the attractions of living in Southland is the lifestyle. Residents are typically involved in a range of sporting, arts, cultural and recreational activities. International students who come to Southland to study realise they receive an educational experience that encompasses internationally recognised qualifications with an enjoyable, safe and exciting lifestyle. Our Southland schools approach to education nurtures individuality and fresh thinking. Southlands dynamic but relaxed environment brings together a unique set of conditions perfect for personal growth and learning. From top quality educational instruction to Southlands recreational paradise you will grow as an individual and become a dynamic young global citizen. Contact Details:

Southland Boys High School Southland Girls High School



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For domestic options there are two types of international college degree programmes.

nderstandably, international education imposes a significant burden on parents financial responsibility. However, unlike preceding education levels, College Education is something students should be largely left to make that final decision about on their own. Because, the bottom-line is that your child will be the one who puts in the actual hard work by going to school and studying while you provide support and guidance. The fact that your kid has made it to this point is already an achievement on the parents part. As parents, the next step should be letting your kid take a more leading role in making the decision on their higher education. There are two viable routes to higher education for international degrees: domestic and going abroad. For domestic options there are two types of international college degree programmes, Joint Degree Programme and International Degree Programme. Going abroad for college education was once the only connotation of international education at college level for Thai students. The good news is that unlike the governments decision on secondary education, during the last decade, the Ministry of University Affairs (MUA), the regulative agency overlooking policy covering most degree granting institutions in Thailand (both public and private,) has placed an emphasis on internationalisation and regionalisation of Thailands tertiary education. As a result, Thailands higher education system has been seeing a healthy increase in international programmes at college level in recent years. The availability of international college degrees has become normalised to the point that, today, going abroad to continue international education at college level has substantially become less of a necessity. Basically, we are looking at three college platforms, namely, Domestic, American and British alternatives. This does not imply that these are the only college tracks available, it merely shows the possibility of what type of admission process and requirements you will be dealing with once you are settled on the college decision. For example, some countries like Australia and Canada adopt a more flexible method in college admission for students from overseas. Their admission process and requirements for international students are often interchangeable between American and British standardised tests. It does not make for a better understanding to have a strict descriptive label for any countrys college system.


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Domestic International College Programmes

Of all the possible options, the domestic international programme represents the least strenuous process students have to take on. For one thing, students are able to stay at home while taking their college courses. That advantage alone should attract a considerable amount of interest from concerned parents. Domestic international programmes in Thailand have grown both in numbers of available majors and popularity in recent years. It used to be taking a domestic international programme was only considered when financially necessitated and courses of study were limited to a few viable college majors. This is no longer the case. According to the report by The Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC,) it shows that the number of international programmes offered at university level from 2005 - 2010 increased by almost 90%. In 2010, both the Thai public and private universities offered a total of 981 English Language Programmes, of which 699 programmes were offered by public institutions and 282 programmes by private institutions. Of all the programmes offered, 342 are undergraduate programmes, 389 are masters degree programmes, 225 doctoral degree programmes, and the others 25 programmes are non-degree granting. At present, there are two options for students who want to pursue their higher education in Thailand: International Degree Programme and Joint Degree Program, or Collaborated Degree Programme, as some universities choose to call it.



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Launching Careers For Over 30 Years

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International Degree Programme

International Degree Programme is a degree granting English programme where each capable university or higher education institution develops the programme and content of the degrees offered on its own. Most universities offer international programmes through individual faculty admission. However, in some leading universities, international programmes are offered directly by their international college established for that purpose.

International Joint-Degree Programme

There could be some confusion with the joint degree programme title. There are Thai language joint degree programs that combine two degree-majors in one programme which usually takes just one year longer than typical degree programmes. There are also the International Joint Degree Programme. Here we are talking about the latter. On the surface, International Joint Degree Programme is similar to International Degree Programme. The most obvious difference is that while the typical International Degree Programme is a degree programme designed and developed solely by Thai universities and institutions, International Joint Degree Programme is exclusively meant for programmes that are developed in collaboration or in tandem between a Thai university or institution and another leading higher education institution from another country (typically from North America, Europe or Australia). International college programs in Thailand have advanced in such a way that some of the programmes being offered from leading institutions are as qualified as those being taught abroad or, in some cases, even more internationally accredited. Quality of teaching personnel, of course, plays a catalyzing role in achieving fast progress. Moreover, students who take college study domestically benefit from having local connections, which possibly could become useful later in their career. Most colleges and universities in Thailand accept all accredited international curriculum graduates i.e. IB, A or O Level (IGCSE and GCE) or Advance Placement. The only additional standardised test students have to take for admission is TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). The required score depends on the individual colleges policy but usually a score of 500 should satisfy most undergraduate admission.


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American College System

The United States is generally the more popular choice for students going abroad for their higher education, especially for those students with the Advance Placement credential. In saying that, it does not mean graduating from American system international schools limits your college choice to only US based institutions. There are other countries where Advance Placement graduates can enjoy similar benefits. There are plenty of Colleges in other countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and most English utilising colleges that honour Advance Placement. Some colleges may limit certain benefits students could otherwise be granted if they were applying to an American college. For instance, specific credits students gain in Advance Placement curriculum sometimes can be transferred directly to college degree credits given that the course content is equivalent. Most American colleges and universities also recognise IB and IGCSE diplomas but the transferable credit policy is not applied. If you decide to go to an American college, there are also additional standardised tests you need to take before you can submit your application. It goes without saying that unless you are an American student or you graduated from international school in an English native speaking country, TOEFL is the test you have to take. A score of 550 should suffice all American colleges requirements for admission. In some highly selective institutions TOEFL scores of 600+ are recommended. SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is the standardised test both foreign and American students have to take prior to being successfully accepted to their prospective college. Maximum score for SAT is 2,400 which comprises of three parts (writing, math and critical thinking), 800 points for each part. Required score for SAT varies according to each college, students are advised to check with the college they are applying to what is the minimum required SAT score. Usually a SAT Score of around 1,600 is considered acceptable by most colleges but for certain prestigious colleges, a score of 2,100 is recommended. However, the SAT score also needs to be coordinated with applicants GPA. ACT (American College Testing) is a standardised test widely used in western states. Most of the time a SAT score is interchangeable. Consider the local availability of SAT students may just take the SAT for the application process. There are also tests for specialised college degrees like law school, which requires LSAT, or Law School Admission Test. GRE and GMAT are both purposely for graduate school admissions but in some rare cases these tests are required. It is best to check with the college you are applying for to get the pertinent details.

Most American colleges and universities also recognise IB and IGCSE diplomas but the transferable credit policy is not applied.



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For overseas applicants, scholarships will include a monthly allowance and airfare.

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British College System

British College system includes colleges within the United Kingdom and colleges in those countries that adopt the British system like Australia and Canada. While American colleges admission is, quite frankly, straight forward. In the UK system, there are subtle issues that need to be satisfied before you are admitted into a college. It takes less time for students graduated from IGCSE or GCSE A Level programs to complete their college degree, due to the more flexible transfer credit policy of the British college system. While American colleges require four years as a standard timeframe to complete an undergraduate degree, in the UK colleges system it is possible to finish an undergraduate degree within three years. Due to the fact that courses in the A Level programs are considered college level, credits can be transferred directly toward degree credits. As mentioned in the High School section, for O Level graduates to apply for college in the UK system, an additional three A level courses with pass grades are required prior to admission. UK colleges and university also recognize IB and Advance Placement diploma. To apply for colleges in the British system, students with an international education diploma also need to take standardised language tests. IELTS (International Language Testing System) is a requirement for entry into higher education courses in the UK. There are four test modules: Listening, Speaking, General Training and Academic Reading and Writing. Usually, students take the same Listening and Speaking modules and for academic purposes, Academic Reading and Writing module is recommended whereas General Training module is recommended for non-academic training. The most common score is 6.5 but for more competitive colleges, a score of 7.5 or higher is expected. IELTS score can also be applied for colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Apart from a good IELTS score, universities also expect a good GPA from students. In some cases, TOEFL scores can be substituted for IELTS scores, more commonly for colleges and universities in Australia and Canada. There are also standardised tests that are required by specific institutions and programmes. For example, History Aptitude Test (HAT) is a standardised test required for the admissions process to Oxford University, LNAT or National Admission Test for Law is an aptitude test for applicants who apply to eight adopted University Law Schools. BMAT (Biomedical Admission Test) is an aptitude test required for admission to university medical programmes.


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Programs of study: (International programs)

Undergraduate programs
Degree granted B.B.A B.B.A B.A. B.A.

Disciplines Business Administration Business Administration (Chinese Program) English Mass Communication Technology Disciplines Educational Administration Communicative English Mass Communication Business Administration Business Administration (Chinese Program) Political Science Law

Graduate programs
Degree granted M.Ed., Ph.D. M.A. M.A. M.B.A., Ph.D. M.B.A. M.A., Ph.D. LL.D.



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Standardised Tests

n order to accurately evaluate millions of international students applying for colleges from around the world, and the variance in standard of international schools, there are tests, in the form of statistical quotient tests, designed specifically to evaluate students academic competency in different academic settings. These tests are called Standardised Tests. There are a handful of standardised tests that are administered globally. These tests are both designed to test English proficiency (i.e., the use of English in academic setting) and other academic skills (mathematical and analytical.) Because a diploma from an international school does not successfully guarantee that a student has the English language proficiency equivalent to those who graduate from schools in native English speaking countries: Also, academic competency still needs to be evaluated with the same standards for both international and native English speaking students. The following are standardised tests that are most often required for college admission. 1. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is the most accepted English proficiency test, accepted by over 6,000 colleges and universities in 110 countries. The test measures the English proficiency of non-English speaking students on a statistical ranking scale. Students applying for overseas educational institutions in English speaking countries are required to take the test. That amount triples the number of any other English-language proficiency test. There are currently three TOEFL test formats: PBT (paper-based test), CBT (computer-based test) and iBT (internet-based test). Which format of the test taken depends on the test centre location. The TOEFL test consists of four distinct modules: listening, structure (grammar), reading and writing. PBT and CBT test sections are in listening, structure (grammar), reading and writing with total scores of 677 and 300 respectively. In 2005, iBT was introduced as a completed English proficiency test with an additional module on speaking, with a total score of 120. The TOEFL score is valid for two years. For more information please contact AES (Thailand) or Institute of International Education Southeast Asia (IIE). 2. IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is widely accepted as the English proficiency test for international students furthering their academic programmes in the UK. This test has been designed to measure students all-round English language ability (i.e. listening, reading, writing and speaking). IELTS consists of four distinct modules in which all applicants must take the same listening and speaking modules. But they have an option to take either just the academic reading and writing modules or the general training reading and writing modules which is recommended for students planning to undertake non-academic training. The three modules of listening, reading and writing must be completed in one day, whereas the speaking module may be taken at the discretion of the test centre within a period of seven days before or after the other modules. For more information please contact British Council or IDP Education Pty Ltd. (Thailand).


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3. SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test/SAT-I) is a prerequisite Reasoning Test conducted for admissions to undergraduate programmes in the United States. It is a three-hour test that determines the proficiency of the students in verbal, mathematical and reasoning skills. The SAT score is required to evaluate the skills needed to complete the academic courses successfully. Many universities also require SAT-II test scores along with a SAT-I score for admission. Many colleges and universities find SAT to be a more credible test for predicting students competence. The test scores are valid up to five years of the test date. 4. GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a computer based standardised test that assesses the aptitude abilities in a person for accomplishing academically a business curriculum. This test is recognised as part of admissions in more than 4,000 graduate programmes in 1,800 schools around the world. The GMAT test consists of three distinct modules that determine fundamental verbal, mathematical and analytical writing skills. The maximum score for GMAT is 800. The mean score in 2005-06 is 533. The test score is valid for 5 years. 5. GRE General Test is normally an important criterion for admission required by many graduate programmes and professional schools in the US, especially for scientific leaning graduate programmes, both social sciences and applied sciences. This test is conducted to measure the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and are not related to any specific field of study. GRE is a computer-adaptive test, which means your performance on previous questions determines which question you will be asked next. The GRE score is technically valid for five years with total score range for the test of 400-1600. For specific fields of study, there are GRE Subject Tests designed specifically to test each unique academic skills set required for specialised degrees, for example, Mathematics, Biological Sciences, English Literature, Computer Science, Chemistry and Psychology. For more information please contact Institute of International Education - Southeast Asia (IIE).


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